Chicago Cubs: The chances of extending Anthony Rizzo
Won’t be around forever
While Cubs fans bask in the glory of having young star after young star, sooner or later reality sets in. At some point, the team is going to have to pay to keep them. Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Javy Báez, the list goes on. These are players other teams would love to have and would pay a pretty penny to get. The team has been lucky that most of their young players have developed into studs, but they all won’t be around forever.
With that in mind, hefty paydays await these young players. While there’s no salary cap in baseball, penalties accrue once a team goes above the luxury tax. That’s something the Cubs would like to avoid if possible, so get used to this current version of the Cubs while you can folks, because it’s guaranteed to change in a few years.
Would you rather lock up Báez, Contreras and Russell soon than lose Rizzo to free agency later? Or what about giving both Bryant and Rizzo massive extensions and hope one of those aforementioned youngsters stick around at a discount? What about 2018, when everyone and their mother is a free agent? Bryce Harper sure does love Wrigley Field… what about a Bryant-Harper-Rizzo middle of the order?
For a team as stacked as the Cubs, playing GM is fun for fans. But for Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, it’s a more serious affair. Keeping this team intact while still adding quality pieces is going to be a challenge. Rizzo’s contract has given them breathing room, but at some point, they won’t be able to ignore the possibility of losing him down the road.
If it were up to me, I’d play out his deal. Unless Rizzo presses the team’s hand (something that could very well happen), the 1st baseman seems to be fine with sacrificing financial gain for championships. By doing so, his selflessness gives the team a better chance at winning more World Series rings. And when the time comes, Rizzo and the front office can discuss the future. But until then, it’s all about stacking up trophies.